Best business analyst certifications to level up your career | Tistalents
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Best business analyst certifications to level up your career

Business analysts blend data skills and business acumen to the benefit of analytics-driven organizations. Here are 13 noteworthy certs to help you get ahead as a business analyst.

Business analysts are in high demand, with 24% of Fortune 500 companies currently hiring business analysts across a range of industries, including technology (27%), finance (13%), professional services (10%), and healthcare (5%), according to data from Zippia. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that business analyst jobs will grow 11% from 2021 to 2031.

Business analysts help organizations make the most of the data they collect by finding trends, patterns, and errors that might otherwise go unnoticed. Successful business analysts have the skills to work with data, the acumen to understand the business side of the organization, and the ability to communicate that information to people outside of IT. Top skills for business analysts include project management, data analysis, business analysis, user stories, and user acceptance, according to Zippia. And the top employers of business analysts include Google, Citi, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Amazon, Capgemini, and IBM.

Business analytics is a lucrative role in IT, with an average entry-level salary of $82,084 per year. Throughout their careers, business analysts report average salaries ranging from $66,000 to $103,000 per year, according to Glassdoor. One of the chief ways to kickstart a career as a business analyst or to earn more is through certification.

Certifications offer an avenue for professional development by offering credentials that demonstrate mastery of relevant job skills and expertise. Following are the most in-demand certifications for business analysts, broken out by where they fit best in the business analyst career path.

Business analyst certification for beginners

For entry-level business analysts, or anyone looking to change career paths, the following certifications can help get you started. These credentials are geared to those just starting out in analytics, demonstrating your overall abilities as an entry-level business analyst.

Associate Certified Analytics Professional (aCAP)

The Associate Certified Analytics Professional (aCAP) is a vendor-neutral certification that validates your skills as an entry-level analytics professional and that you agree to adhere to the aCAP Code of Ethics. It’s the first step on the path to earning a Certified Analytics Professional (CAP) credential, which requires three or more years of experience in the industry. But for entry-level business analysts, the aCAP certification is designed for any level of education or experience. The exam will test your knowledge in seven domains of the analytics process: business problem framing, analytics problem framing, data, methodology selection, model building, deployment, and lifecycle management. The aCAP designation is a great way to start building your resume and demonstrating your proficiency in analytics, even if you don’t have a lot of experience.

  • Exam fee: $200 for INFORMS members, $300 for nonmembers

IIBA Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA)

The Entry Certificate in Business Analysis (ECBA) is the first level of certification with the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA). It is designed for less experienced and entry-level business analysts. You will need to complete at least 21 hours of professional training credits, within the past four years, before you will be eligible for the exam. You don’t have to renew your ECBA certification, but it’s assumed you’ll move on to the second or third levels of certification. For more, see our guide on the ECBA.

  • Application fee:$45
  • Exam fee:$150 for IIBA members, $305 for nonmembers
  • Retake fee:$95 for IIBA members, $250 for nonmembers

IQBBA Certified Foundation Level Business Analyst (CFLBA)

The International Qualifications Board for Business Analysts (IQBBA) offers the Certified Foundation Level Business Analysis (CFLBA) as an entry-level certification, which will qualify you to earn higher levels of certification. It’s a globally recognized certification with accredited exam and training centers across the world. It’s designed for “people involved in analyzing business processes within an organization, modeling businesses and process improvement.” The foundation level covers enterprise analysis, business analysis process planning, requirements elicitation, requirements analysis, solution validation, tools and techniques, innovation and design. Accredited training and exam centers in the United States are limited, with centers in Illinois, Maryland, Oklahoma, Florida, and Texas. But there are options to take training courses and exams online.

  • Exam fee:Varies by location

SimpliLearn Business Analyst Certification Masters Program

If you’re new to the industry or want to change careers and start on the path of a business analyst, SimpliLearn offers a Business Analyst Masters Program that is accredited by the IIBA. Through the program, you can opt to earn your CCBA certification as well as certifications in Agile Scrum Foundation, Digital Transformation for Leaders, Python for Data Science, and R Programming for Data Science. Completion of the program will also earn you 35 IIBA and 25 Project Management Institute (PMI) professional development units.

The course promises to make you an expert in Excel, CBAP, Tableau, Scrum, SQL, and CCBA. You’ll also learn how to build interactive dashboards, apply statistical tools and concepts, plan and track Scrum projects, understand business analysis key concepts, analyze data using Tableau, and more.

  • Course fee: $1,499

In-demand certifications for advanced business analysts

For business analysts already into their careers, there are several certifications that will help validate your advanced skills. As you progress through your career, these certifications can help demonstrate to employers that you have the right skills as an advanced business analyst.

Certified Analytics Professional (CAP)

The Certified Analytics Professional (CAP) is a vendor-neutral certification that certifies your skills and ability to draw valuable insights from complex data sets to help guide strategic businesses decisions. To qualify for this certification, you will need a master’s degree in a related field and at least five years of relevant experience, or a bachelor’s degree in a related field along with seven years of experience in data or analytics.

  • Exam fee: $495 for INFORMS members, $695 for nonmembers

IIBA Certification of Competency in Business Analysis (CCBA)

Level 2 of the IIBA certification, the Certification of Competency in Business Analysis (CCBA) requires a minimum 3,750 hours of business analytics work aligned with the IIBA’s Business Analysis Book of Knowledge (BABOK) guide in the past 7 years, 900 hours in two of six BABOK knowledge areas, or 500 hours in four of six BABOK knowledge areas. The certification also requires a minimum of 21 hours professional development training in the past four years and two professional references. The CCBA exam consists of 130 multiple-choice questions that are scenario-based and require some analysis. It covers fundamentals, underlying competencies, key concepts, techniques, and all six knowledge areas covered in the BABOK.

  • Application fee:$145
  • Exam fee:$250 for IIBA members, $405 for nonmembers
  • Retake fee:$195 for IIBA members, $205 for nonmembers

IIBA Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP)

The Certified Business Analysis Professional CBAP certification is the third level of certification with IIBA and it’s designed for “individuals with extensive business analysis experience.” To qualify for this certification, you’ll need a minimum of 7,500 hours of business analyst work experience in the past 10 years, 900 hours of work experience hours within four of the six BABOK knowledge areas, at least 35 hours of professional development in the past four years and professional references. The exam is 3.5 hours long and includes 120 multiple-choice questions that are based on case studies. After you pass, you’ll need to report at least 60 hours of continuing development units every three years. For more, see our guide on the CBAP.

  • Application fee:$145
  • Exam fee:$350 for IIBA members, $505 for non-members
  • Retake fee:$295 for IIBA members, $450 for non-members

IIBA Agile Analysis Certification (AAC)

As a methodology, agile has been rising in importance for business analysts over the past several years, according to the IIBA. The association’s competency-based Agile Analysis Certification (AAC) exam was designed to address this skillset and to certify business analyst professionals working in agile environments, which require fast adaption and rapid change. The exam was developed using the Agile Extension to the BABOK guide and was released in May 2018. It is a standalone certification and is separate from the other IIBA business analyst certifications, which stack on top of one another.

The exam is offered through remote online proctoring and consists of 85 multiple-choice, scenario-based questions to be completed in 2 hours. The exam’s four main topics include agile mindset (30%), strategy horizon (10%), initiative horizon (25%), and delivery horizon (35%). Your certification will last for three years, at which point you’ll need to renew the certification. There aren’t any eligibility requirements to take the exam, but the IIBA recommends at least two to five years of agile-related experience.

  • Exam fee:$250 for IIBA members, $400 for nonmembers
  • Retake fee:$195 for IIBA members, $350 for nonmembers

IIBA Certification in Business Data Analytics (CBDA)

The Certification in Business Data Analytics (IIBA-CBDA) from the IIBA is a new certification that “recognizes your ability to effectively execute analysis-related work in support of business analytics initiatives.” To pass the exam, you will need to examine a real-world business problem, identify the data sources and how to obtain data, analyze the data, interpret and report results from the data. You’ll then need to demonstrate how those results can influence business decision-making and guide company-level strategies for business analytics.

  • Exam fee:$250 for IIBA members, $400 for nonmembers
  • Retake fee:$195 for IIBA members, $350 for nonmembers

IQBBA Certified Advanced Level Business Analyst (CALBA)

The IQBBA Certified Advanced Level Business Analyst (CALBA) certification builds off the CFLBA foundation level cert, with the exam covering more advanced analytics skills and knowledge. You’ll be tested in your knowledge of business analysis process management, requirements management, and strategic analysis and optimization. The three modules cover higher-level concepts of business analytics such as strategy definition, solution evaluation and optimization, business analysis processes, people management, relevant tools and software, change management, conflict management, and more. The exam is multiple choice and you can choose to take a course prior, or study on your own time and take the exam when you are ready. The IQBBA announced an expert-level certification, but as of this writing it has not yet been released.

  • Exam fee:Varies by location

IQBBA Certified Agile Business Analysis (CABA)

The IQBBA Certified Agile Business Analysis (CABA) certification is designed to help bring more clarity to how agile can help maximize the effectiveness of business analytics. It aims to help business analysts have greater impact on agile software development projects. The exam covers how to identify the role of a business analyst in an agile development project, how to establish the responsibilities of a business analyst on an agile team, and how to integrate the concept of continuous improvement int o analytics. The certification helps establish the role of a business analyst in an agile environment and offers a blueprint on how to integrate agile into the business analytics process.

  • Exam fee:Varies by location

IREB Certified Professional for Requirements Engineering (CPRE)

The International Requirements Engineering Board (IREB) offers the Certified Professional for Requirements Engineering (CPRE) certification is designed for those working in requirements engineering (RE), and it’s offered at three levels. The Foundation Level is first, where you’ll be certified in the basics of RE. The Advanced Level is next, where you can choose between three paths, including Requirements Elicitation and Consolidation, Requirements Modeling and Requirements Management — but you’ll need to wait 12 months after completing the first exam to take the advanced level exam. The Expert Level certifies you at the “highest level of expert knowledge,” which includes both your hands-on experience as well as your knowledge and skills gained through previous certifications.

Your certification will not expire, and you will not need to renew it. The IREB states that the CPRE is “based on the fundamental methods and approaches of Requirements Engineering, and these alter only slowly,” so at this time, they don’t see a need for renewal.

  • Exam fee:Varies by testing center

PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PBA) Certification

The PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PBA) certification is designed for business analysts who work with projects or programs, or project and program managers who work with analytics. It’s offered through the Project Management Institute (PMI), which specializes in widely recognized project management certifications, such as the PMP. The certification focuses on business analysis training through hands-on projects and testing on business analysis principles, tools and fundamentals.

If you’ve already earned a bachelor’s degree, you’ll need at least three years’ experience, or 4,500 hours, in business analysis consecutively within the past eight years to earn this certification. Without a bachelor’s degree, you’ll need five years or 7,500 hours experience.

You’ll be required to earn 60 professional development units within three years after completing the certification to maintain your renewal status. If you let your renewal lapse, your credentials will be suspended for one year until you fulfill the requirements — after that, it will be terminated and you’ll need to reapply.

  • Exam fee:$405 for PMI members, $555 for nonmembers

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